The 100 Most Influential People of 2020
Bryn Lennon—Getty Images
By Bubba Wallace
September 22, 2020 9:34 PM EDT

Lewis Hamilton is someone I’ve idolized. He’s poised to win his seventh Formula One championship this season, tying Michael Schumacher’s record. Seven is a magic number in racing. Dale Earnhardt Sr., Jimmie Johnson and Richard Petty have each won seven NASCAR season titles. Lewis, 35, is young enough to keep winning championships and setting new all-time records.

I’m the only Black driver in NASCAR’s top level. So Lewis’ example—as the lone Black F1 driver—is particularly meaningful for me. He shows we’re out there doing it. To see him conquering the track damn near every weekend, it motivates me to try to do the same.

His activism has also moved the world. Lewis has brought international attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, through his advocacy on social media and at F1 events. Lewis’ mental preparation, his aura, his ability to capitalize on every opportunity to use his platform to drive out racism are more than just a model for race-car drivers and other athletes. He’s an inspiration for everyone.

Wallace is a driver in the NASCAR Cup Series circuit

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